Delmarva Poultry Industry makes major economic impact on eastern shore

SNOW HILL, Md. – “The economy of the shore basically is based on the poultry industry,” said local poultry farmer Virgil Shockley.

Officials with the Delmarva Poultry Industry have been tracking the progress and profit they’ve made over the past year. And the results show it was clear that the chicken industry has made a huge impact on the local economy, yet again.

“That’s just really a testament to how important Delmarva’s chicken industry continues to be,” said Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., communications manager James Fisher.

According to officials, Delmarva’s poultry has increased its economic output by almost 20 percent over the past five years. Producing 4.3 billion pounds of chicken worth $3.4 billion in 2018 alone. And that money, goes back into the pockets of local farmers, employees, businesses, and more.

“We spent more than a billion dollars on soy beans, corn, wheat, and other ingredients to make chicken feed. And that’s a really big part of the economy too,” said Fisher.

“Everything we grow is used here, so it benefits everybody. It benefits the farmer, it benefits the poultry industry, it benefits the consumers,” Shockley said.

While the industry continues to grow, officials tell us the number of chicken houses has dwindled by nearly 9%, but they say the decline shouldn’t be an issue.

“The number of active chicken houses right now is actually lower than the number of houses 20 years ago but we’re still able to raise a few more birds every year,” Fisher assured.

While the success is there, officials say the industry still saw it’s fair share of challenges. Including the pressure to lower their prices to keep up with competitors.

“It does add sort of pressure and complexity on the chicken industry to remain profitable while still making the investments,” said Fisher.

But it’s a pressure that officials say they’ll be able to manage as they continue to produce quality chicken.

“You can’t get much more fresh than right here, homegrown,” said Shockley.

Poultry officials also say Delmarva’s chicken companies invested $137 million¬† last year in capital improvements, including investments in wastewater treatment and processing plants.While embracing and extending environmental practices that they say are “measurably improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay”.

Categories: Local News, Maryland